Fix Internet time service

$500 of $20,000 goal

Raised by 26 people in 36 months
Every time you use a Web browser, locate yourself on Google Maps, draw money from an ATM, or play on a game console, you rely on computer code I wrote and gave away.

If you are a computer programmer, you may know me as the author of "The Cathedral and the Bazaar" and one of the founders of the modern open-source movement.  I was famous for a while, but tried to give it up so I could get back to work on important things.

The Internet was built by people like me. We're still out there, patiently building things and fixing bugs and putting in our time to make sure your world keeps working. We're mostly volunteers, because there is no way to wrap a business model around the most essential services. We do what we do for love, and because software is our art - and because, in the Internet-dependent 21st century, we know civilization would be lost without us just as surely as if the roads and sewers and power grid stopped working.

It's hard to notice us, because we're not the people who write the programs you can easily see. Ours is the software behind the software - the programs and service libraries that paint pixels on your display, move bits along the wires, allow hardware to talk to other hardware. (For those of you more technically inclined, I'm talking about systems code rather than applications.)

Though I'm a techie, I'm in a situation similar to a fine artist because the market has not figured out how to value and reward the work I feel called to do. Unlike most artists, it wouldn't be difficult for me to get a well-paid job - but then I'd have to work on what an employer wants, rather than what the world actually needs.

One of my current challenges is fixing Internet time service.  The code that currently synchronizes your computer clock with standard time has serious problems, including security vulnerabilities that allow time servers to be abused as reflectors for denial-of-service attacks.  Fixing this is a big project that will involve shipping and maintaining replacement code over multiple years.

Not only do I need to cover personal costs like rent, food, and medical insurance over all that time, but the test equipment for verifying the code is expensive.  The limited amount of sponsorship I've gained so far won't cover it.

By contributing, you will be helping me repair one of the foundation blocks of the Internetted world - something you take for granted when it's there but would be disastrous to lose.  It's not the first time I've had my finger in the proverbial dike, and almost certainly won't be the last.
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Those of you with some programming background will know how significant it is that in the last four montha I've reduced the size of the NTP from 227KLOC to 98KLOC - a 57% slimdown.
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First release of the new code will almost certainly be within 30 days.
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$500 of $20,000 goal

Raised by 26 people in 36 months
Created October 19, 2015
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$14
Anonymous
24 months ago
AS
$51
Andrew Schilt
24 months ago

Thank you ~esr for this. Also for putting emacs into git! And for all the great things you have done for us all in so many ways!

$10
Terry Burton
27 months ago (Monthly Donation)
$10
Terry Burton
28 months ago (Monthly Donation)
$10
Terry Burton
29 months ago (Monthly Donation)
$10
Terry Burton
30 months ago (Monthly Donation)
$10
Terry Burton
31 months ago (Monthly Donation)
$10
Terry Burton
32 months ago (Monthly Donation)
$10
Terry Burton
33 months ago (Monthly Donation)
$10
Terry Burton
34 months ago (Monthly Donation)
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